OLYMPIA – Improvements to I-90 in the eastern Spokane Valley and other public works construction for the 4th Legislative District were among many projects OK’d by lawmakers as they passed capital and transportation budgets Sunday, the final day of the 2019 legislative session.
Other appropriations for the 4th District include funding for Browns Park in the city of Spokane Valley, the new ski lift at Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park, water quality efforts at Newman Lake, clock tower restoration at Felts Field and money to acquire land at the Dishman Hills Natural Area and Mica Peak.
The projects were among many authorized for the 4th Legislative District, which covers eastern Spokane County to the Idaho border. The two budgets were among a torrent of legislation approved in the session’s final hours.
“Local projects like these are of great importance to our community,” said Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “Often they are overshadowed by our big debates in Olympia, but they have a huge impact on our quality of life. We’re glad we were able to get them through this year.”
“Projects like these provide added value to our local communities while enhancing the quality of life for working families,” said Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley. “Whether we’re getting working parents home sooner with quicker commute times, enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities, or protecting against floods, projects like these show how we can work together for the good of our community.”
“We had great input from community leaders and local government entities,” said Rep. Bob McCaslin, R-Spokane Valley. “There was a lot of support back home for these projects and I’m extremely grateful we were able to get these across the finish line. I’m also pleased we were able to fund our transportation concerns without raising the gas tax.”
The 4th District lawmakers worked closely with officials in Spokane County and the cities of Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake in crafting the budget appropriations.
The Barker-to-Harvard project won funding in the transportation budget, HB 1160. The road-construction project will improve I-90 interchanges at Barker and Harvard roads, construct an overpass at Henry Road, and improve local feeder streets. The budget provides $20.7 million for the project over the next two years. The appropriation caps total state spending for the project within the city of Liberty Lake to $20.9 million, and requires the city to agree to cover additional costs.
Other construction projects are covered in the capital budget, HB 1102, which covers state-funded public works appropriations. Projects for the 4th Legislative District include:
Browns Park Project – city of Spokane Valley — $536,000 – Will help pay for a new restroom, picnic shelter and playground at the 8.2-acre park at the corner of Pines Rd. and 32nd Ave.
Mt. Spokane State Park — $750,000 – Will help pay for the new $2.2 million ski lift and terrain expansion at Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park. The lift opened this season, providing access to seven new ski runs.
Newman Lake Flood Control Zone District — $415,000 – Will pay for 2.5 seasons of operation of water quality control equipment and flood control facilities.
Felts Field Gateway Improvement Phase 1 — $100,000 – Will help pay for restoration of the clock tower at Felts Field. Money was reallocated from an appropriation provided earlier, but never spent, for the now-closed Honor Point Military and Aerospace Museum. The clock tower, built in 1939, is a memorial to Lt. Nick Mamer, who set records with a 1929 non-stop flight from Spokane to New York.
Dishman Hills Conservancy — $804,000 – Will provide state matching funds for acquisition of 257 acres adjacent to the Dishman Hills Natural Area.
Mica Peak North Acquisition — $1.2 million – Will provide a grant to the Spokane County Parks, Recreation and Golf Department to buy 901 acres linking the Mica Peak Conservation Area with Liberty Lake Regional park, creating 5,300 contiguous acres of protected wildlife habitat.